Between ages 13 and 16, she sent me emails, from my own account, "reminding" me to kill myself. Well, I didn't—I grew up, and so did she.

When I was thirteen, I had a falling-out with my best friend, after which she tortured me over the Internet for the next three years. We were so close that she knew the answer to my security question, so it didn't matter if I changed my password. Over the course of three years she would periodically go in and delete all of my emails, leaving only cruel notes for me, from my own account, as the sole messages in my inbox.

The worst part were the calendar reminders. Written in the first person, they notified me of my own plans to kill myself. I would be quietly browsing, then the reminder would pop up: "Throw myself off the ____ bridge." (There are a few rivers and creeks in my hometown, so she could be specific.) These reminders were always set for midnight, in the dead of winter. I was an imaginative child, so they would bring up the whole scene for me immediately: I would see my own hands on the bridge railing, the darkness of the water below.

I told few people about this and never any teachers or parents. One of the first times I talked about it to an adult, I was an adult too, almost 29 years old. I was cyberbullied in 1998. That's why it was over email and also why I didn't change my security question. Yahoo didn't even offer that option until I was in my late teens. At the time, I didn't want to get a new account and let my ex-bestie know she'd won.

More than ten years later, I got in touch with Amanda. (That's not her real name. None of the names in this article are real. But it doesn't really matter.) I didn't want her to say sorry. It doesn't matter to me, either way. Instead, I thought about the strangeness of our young minds. How could I have suffered for three years instead of changing my account, or going for help? What kind of person sends suicide notes to another girl for three years straight? I saw on Facebook that Amanda had children now. Had she changed?

I remember my consternation when some of the first cyberbullying stories starting making the news in the late 2000s. I was in college. I kept reading about the parents and the bullies, but I wished I could hear from the girls who had been bullied. This was impossible, however. These girls had made the news because they had killed themselves. I thought about how good it would have felt if I had known, at 13, that I would survive, and that I wasn't alone.

* * *

Amanda is now a fat, happy mom in the suburbs and I'm still terrified of her. I know this because, for this story, I started contacting her on Facebook Messenger. I soon developed a Pavlovian response to the Facebook pop. It made my hands shake and my heart race. Sometimes I buried my face in my palms for a two breaths before I checked the message.

Amanda and I are not Facebook friends (I know, shocking), but we have friends in common. Coaxing her to talk to me took weeks and not a few messages to our mutual friends. The whole time, my anxiety never lessened. I spent a lot of time hyperventilating on trains and on my couch at home.

At first, Amanda said she didn't remember anything. "We were friends, and then we went different directions socially. I don't remember many details, it was a long time ago," she wrote.

With prompting, she recalled signing into my email, "likely multiple times." As a kid, I had asked her face-to-face if the person disappearing my entire inbox was her. At the time, she had always denied it.

"Do you remember what it felt like to sign into the account? Was it fun or exciting?" I asked.

"I think I probably felt smart," she replied. I thought that was the most I would get out of her.

When I finally felt I'd buttered her up enough—and how painful it was to have to feign sweetness and sympathy with her!—I asked the Big Question. "Do you remember leaving calendar reminders for me to kill myself?"

"Omg no! That's horrible," she wrote. "I'm really sorry."

She has still never admitted to leaving the calendar reminders. Later, she said they "sound plausible"—plausible that she could have set them—but she also wondered if someone else might have been in on it, too, because she couldn't recall doing it. How would I know? "Did you share my information with anyone else?" I asked.

"I can see it as something I *may* have done, because, who knows what goes through a teenager's mind, but I really have no recollection," she said. "I can't remember if Diana was involved or not." Diana was a friend Amanda had had since elementary school. She, and two other girls, made up Amanda's core of closest friends at the time.

What I really wanted to know was what kind of person sends another girl prompts to kill herself. But it seemed like I would never find out. She didn't remember setting the calendar reminders, she kept saying. Either she was lying to me, or they mattered so little to her, she forgot.

* * *

Amanda chose to befriend me soon after we started at the same junior high. I'm not sure why. I was still kind of a kid who liked books and fantasy and playing pretend. Amanda came with a ready set of three other girl friends she had made in elementary school, who showed me how to play the things older girls played. Mall-loitering. Truth or dare. Spin the bottle. I was fascinated. After we friend-broke up, I used everything she taught me with my next girl friends, from how to do my nails, to how to talk on the phone for hours.

When Amanda decided to excise me from the group, two of her other friends called me to tell me they were thinking of dropping me because everyone else in the group was kind of cool—they gave examples of the other cool friends and activities they had/did—but I wasn't. Then they made my life at school as unpleasant as possible for a few weeks.

I have little memory of what happened with us away from the keyboard. Amanda recalled  over Facebook that she and Diana would pretend to talk about me in the halls when I walked by, which I didn't remember. I do remember watching Amanda excise other girls while we were still friends. One effort involved Amanda saying loudly at lunchtime, ostensibly to those of us still in the group, "Don't you hate when people try to sit with you when you didn't give them permission and you don't even like them? You try to shake them off, but they keep following you, like a little dog. It's like they can't take a hint."